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Re: So you think you want to thru hike - part 6

>So you think you want to thru hike.  Hiking with a partner.

I thru-hiked with not one, but _two_ partners, for the entire length of the
trail. My hiking partners were (and are) my closest friends, but that
didn't necessarily make things _easy_ on the trail.

First off, trying to match your pace to someone else's (especially when
that other person is a good eight inches taller than you) is not an easy
thing to do. We actually hiked separately, leaving and arriving at
different times but on the same day-to-day mileage schedule. That turned
out to work well, or at least better than trying to hike as a group -- you
could stop and smell the roses (trillium?) during the day, as long as you
made it to the shelter in time for dinner.

It makes gear a bit easier, too. You only have to carry _part_ of a tent,
_part_ of the food, _part_ of the cooking gear, and so on.

But, you _will_ get on each other's nerves. I honestly don't think there's
any way to avoid it.

The biggest additional problem is physical injury -- hiking with a partner,
you're twice as likely to need to take a layover in any given town, to let
the feet cool down a little or just for the necessarly psychological
breaks. We ended up taking nearly thirty of our 180 days on the trail off,
with quite a few very short (and more very long) mileage days.

I wouldn't trade my experience hiking with Pete and Tom for anything -- my
thru-hike was a great time. Just next time, I'm going alone. ;->

-- Dennis